Congress can act now to end the use of large-mesh drift gillnets that cause undue harm to sensitive marine wildlife on the West Coast. Legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives would phase out these wasteful nets and provide funding for fishermen to transition to less harmful fishing gear. The Senate bill, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act (S. 2773), and the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives—H.R. 5638—also provide certainty about the sustainable future of this fishery for consumers, fishing communities, and our treasured natural resources.
Act Now: Support the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act
The United States has been a leader in the regulation of large-scale drift gillnets both at home and abroad, but the gear is still allowed on the West Coast. The fishery itself is small—around 20 active boats—but it kills more dolphins and porpoises than all other West Coast fisheries combined. Harming iconic and endangered species such as leatherback sea turtles and sperm whales is unacceptable, particularly when less wasteful and more environmentally friendly alternatives exist, such as deep-set buoy gear.
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